Toronto came to be through a series of annexations of surrounding villages in the nineteenth and twentieth century, earning the unofficial nickname city of neighbourhoods. The Torontonian cityscape reflects several popular architectures styles and movements, creating the distinct character and feel of each neighbourhood. Ultimately that historical context resonates with our style and so our neighbourhood becomes an extension of our personal expression and identity. Travel back in time and explore the neighbourhood’s we serve.
Roncesvalles Village joined the city of Toronto in 1889, it was the first major transportation hub entering from the west, and was a summer destination, today is affectionately known as Roncy by its residents.
Roncesvalles Village is full of beautiful Victorian and Edwardian century house that are accented with whimsical architectural details. Most of the houses are attached or semi-detached with a sprinkling of detached houses. Garages are tucked away out of sight at the rear of the houses.
The area’s founder, Robert John Turner, was born in England May 12, 1795. He later emigrated to Canada in 1833 first settling in Kingston Ontario. Later moving to York, he purchased a five acre lot to the north and south of Davenport Road, on the crest of the Davenport hill. It included several buildings, an orchard, a large market garden, stables and a Georgian-style home he named Bracondale Hill.
In 1900, the family property was divided into a subdivision called Bracondale Hill Park. The founding family retained ownership of the five acre block, but laid out more than one hundred large lots to the north and west. The lots were sold with strict building restrictions including the minimum to be spent on each house.
The neighbourhood consists of mostly large early twentieth century single-family homes built in the Arts and Crafts and Georgian style.
It was annexed to the city of Toronto in 1909 also encompassing Wychwood Park which remains a private community known as one of Toronto’s more exclusive neighbourhoods with house prices well over a million dollars.
High Park began as a private estate in 1836 when John Howard purchased 65 acres and built his home, Colborne Lodge overlooking Grenadier Pond. In 1850, Howard retired and developed paths and roadways through the park lands and invited Toronto residents to picnic on the property and enjoy the natural surroundings. He eventually sold the land to the city of Toronto.
High Park contains a diverse housing mix mostly Victorian, Edwardian, and Tudor-style. The oldest residential houses built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Typically two and three-storey detached brick homes, with remarkable architectural details such as stained glass windows, lush wood trims, French doors, hardwood floors, and fireplaces.
Families gravitate to the single family homes in this neighbourhood because of its highly regarded schools, gently rolling hills, winding streets, and towering Oak trees.
Harbord Village is a diverse and thriving residential and commercial neighbourhood in Toronto’s downtown. Enclosed by Spadina and Bathurst to the east and west and by Bloor and College to the north and south, with Harbord Street running through the centre.
The neighbourhood was not developed until the 1870s with the exception of an orchard and a handful of older homes no longer standing. Sections of several streets were parcelled off for the development of dense housing, predominantly with two-storeys. Many in what has been termed the archetypal Torontonian Bay and Gable style, usually sharing at least one wall with a neighbour.
Bloor West Village
In the 1850’s it was the property of Lieutenant Colonel William Smith Durie, the first commanding officer of the Queens Own Rifles. After 1948 it was settled by Eastern Europeans, whose influences are still present in many of the bakeries, delis and other businesses. By the 196Os Ukrainians settled in the area contributing to a vibrant commercial strip.
After its amalgamation in 1909, the roads were paved and city services were made available helping to establish it as a shopping district, remaining one of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods.
From the 1920’s and 30s, the areas homes main architectural influences are from the Arts and Crafts style and Tudor revival.
During the early twentieth century this neighbourhood was first settled by the large numbers of Italian immigrants that found work in construction and on the railways buying affordable Edwardian homes that line the side streets.
By the 1960s many Italians moved west of Bathhurst and north of St. Clair Avenue, despite the concentration of Italian Trattorias and businesses, the neighbourhood is now home to a sizeable Portuguese, Latin American, and Vietnamese community.
Little Italy is now bustling with the arrival of trendy cafes and martini bars fronted in true main street style development of two and three-storey buildings, with commercial on the ground floor and residential or storage on the upper floors. The great local music scene, independent cinema, and summer festivals have attracted many young families.
The area was primarily rural until the 1870s similarly as most Toronto neighbourhoods outside of the central downtown core. It was a manufacturing community that rose quickly during the late nineteenth century. The streetscape was shaped by architect James Augustus Ellis (1856-1935) designing over fifty buildings in the neighbourhood.
The Village of West Toronto Junction was founded in 1884 at the intersection of Dundas and Keele Streets. In 1889, it merged with the nearby villages of Carlton and Davenport to the north-east to become the Town of West Toronto Junction. In 1892 it became the Town of Toronto Junction, then the City of West Toronto in 1908, before it was amalgamated one year later in 1909.
In recent years has undergone gentrification renewing the neighbourhood and attracting trendy shop, cafe, and restaurant owners. The Junction appeals to a wide demographic from young families to artists and urban professionals alike.
Leaside was first settled by Eurocanadians during the early nineteenth century. The town, which takes its name from early settler William Lea, was officially incorporated in 1913 and many of the current homes west of Laird, south of Eglinton, were built after 1924.
Starting around 1912, Canadian Northern Railway began buying up large tracts of farmland to generate large profits from the development. Montreal-based architect Frederick Todd was commissioned to produce the master blueprint, which included gently curving streets and zoning to separate commercial, industrial and residential land use. Many of the streets were named after CNR executives, including Hanna, Wicksteed, and Laird.
In 1967 it was amalgamated with the township of East York to form the borough of East York. In 1998 it finally became part of the city of Toronto.
Danforth Village, north of the Danforth, was land originally held by the Church of England. Local street names like Glebemount, and Glebeholme, are reminders that this was once Church land.
The land south of the Danforth was not held by the Church. This land was originally owned by families engaged in either farming or in the brick making business.
Danforth Avenue, this neighbourhood’s main thoroughfare, is named after Asa Danforth, an American contractor who built Kingston road in 1799 but ironically he had nothing to do with the building of Danforth Avenue.
After being annexed to the city of Toronto in 1908 Danforth Village began to be subdivided. The two most significant events in the growth of this neighbourhood were the completion of the Prince Edward Viaduct in 1918, and the opening of the Bloor – Danforth subway in 1966.
Davisville Village is named after John Davis, who immigrated to Canada from Staffordshire, England in 1840. John Davis served as Davisville’s first postmaster and helped found the Davisville Public School. The building that housed the original post office is currently a Starbucks at the north east corner of Yonge Street and Davisville Avenue.
The south part of Davisville was subdivided in the 1860’s on land owned mostly by the Davis family. The north part of the Village belonged to the Church. This latter tract of land, known as the Davisville Glebe, remained undeveloped until 1911 when it was sold to the Dovercourt Land and Building Company, the same company that oversaw the development of the Lawrence Park neighbourhood.
Between the 1920s and 1930s, a number of single family homes were erected here, some of which still stand. During the 1970s, the construction of single-family homes was replaced by the building of condos and low or high rise apartment buildings.
This centrally located neighbourhood has always been popular with singles, young couples and families, and is known for its excellent recreational facilities, outstanding shopping districts, and active nightlife, which includes bars, restaurants and movie theatres.
This east-end neighbourhood forms part of the broader neighbourhood of South Riverdale. Leslieville began as a small village in the 1850s, which grew up around the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie and sons, after whom the community is named. Most of Leslieville’s residents were gardeners or were employed at one of the brick-making factories in the area.
The older homes in the neighbourhood can be found along Queen Street East and to the south of Eastern Avenue. Here the homes were built in the late nineteenth century, with architectural styles ranging from the Ontario cottage style to Second Empire row homes. You will also be able to find Victorian houses in the area.
Moore Park was subdivided in 1889 as an exclusive Toronto suburb for the very wealthy. The neighbourhood takes its name from its developer, John T. Moore, building two bridges in order to improve the transport facilities in the area to attract residents.
Moore was instrumental in building the Belt Line Railway, Toronto’s first commuter train. He personally oversaw the construction of the Belt Line’s showpiece station at Moore Park, he experienced setbacks during the recession.
The neighbourhood is home to some of Canada’s most affluent citizens. The peaceful neighbourhood has all the amenities from schools, parks, shopping areas and much more.
The Annex style house is unique to Toronto because it blends elements of both the American Richardson Romanesque and the British Queen Anne Style. Typically features large rounded arches along with decorative items such as turrets and domes, with an emphasis on the attics, exterior architecture. The houses are most often made of brick, though some also incorporate Credit Valley sandstone. This area was populated by some of Toronto’s wealthiest citizens, the houses were all on the larger side when compared to other houses being built during 1880 and the early 1900s.
The 1950s and 1960s saw the replacement of some homes and mansions with mid-rise and a handful of high-rise apartment buildings in the International style. These were surrounded by landscaped green spaces in an attempt to better fit into the neighbourhood. Some of architect Uno Prii’s most expressive, sculptural apartment buildings are located in the Annex.
In December 1912, North Toronto was amalgamated to the city Toronto.
In 1889, the previously unincorporated villages of Davisville and Eglinton formally merged to become the Village of North Toronto. In early 1890, the boundaries were extended, and North Toronto was upgraded to town status.
The neighbourhood has had a mixed-density design for some time, but this is rapidly changing to a greater density with the construction of residential condominium buildings in the area. Mount Pleasant Cemetery serves as a major green space for the southern end of the neighbourhood. South of the cemetery are trails in two ravines of the former Mud Creek and Yellow Creek, which lead to the Don River. On the north side of the cemetery is the Beltline Trail, a heavily-used pedestrian and cycling path on the route of a former railway line.